NEWINGTON - Local Market is expected to close at the end of September.
An announcement was made Tuesday by store staff on social media, including Twitter and Facebook pages representing the grocery, at 175 Lowrey Place.
“We would like to thank everyone for their patronage and loyalty to Local/Best Market for the past 6 years,” the post read. “Please come and see us before our doors close. It’s been a pleasure serving the town of Newington. Thank you.”
Store managers could not be reached for comment.
Newington Economic Development Director Andrew Brecher was distressed to learn of the decision made by the Raitses family, which owns the store and the entire Northwood Plaza where it’s located.
The family, from New York, had been actively trying to sell the plaza, according to Brecher.
“Closing the grocery will make leasing up the remaining empty tenant space and selling the entire plaza much more difficult,” he said Tuesday. “I continue to work with the owner’s broker to find opportunities for new tenants and a new owner.”
The store opened as Best Market in fall 2013. Late last year, the Long Island-based grocery chain sold 27 of its 28 stores to global grocery corporation Lidl. The only franchise the company did not purchase was the Newington store, Best Market’s only Connecticut location. At that time, the store was renamed Local Market and rebranded by the Raitses family.
“We were aware that when Best Market sold itself to Lidl (that) the one store that wasn’t a part of that transaction was placed in jeopardy,” Brecher pointed out.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise the owners felt it was very difficult to remain profitable when they couldn’t buy their merchandise at the same low prices they used to,” he continued. “They also didn’t have the services that corporate used to provide all 28 stores. It is extraordinarily difficult to be a value-priced grocer and only have one store.”
The company originally hired 160 people to work in the store, about 85 percent of whom were Newington residents. It is not immediately clear how many employees now work there and how many jobs will be lost when it closes.
The grocery specializes in prepared foods, with fresh hot and cold options.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.